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Wendy’s Ponders ‘Appropriate’ Pricing

Wendy’s Ponders ‘Appropriate’ Pricing

Emil Brolick, who retired as Wendy’s CEO in May, used to give wonderful, thoughtful mini-lectures on industry issues occasionally during earnings calls. In February, I called his report a “QSR Tutorial.” I’m pleased that his successor, Todd A. Penegor, is maintaining that style. Wendy’s Q2 reported included weak same-store sales—0.4%–but some gains, including a boost […]

Burger Deals Escalate; Is BK’s a Value?

Burger Deals Escalate; Is BK’s a Value?

Yesterday’s post spotlighted the accelerating discounting competition among burger chains. Burger King’s introduced a “2 for $10 Whopper Meal” deal and Sonic added a new $5 Boom Box meal bundle to compete with similar “value deals” from McDonald, Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr., Checkers and others. But yesterday had barely begun before several interesting reactions occurred. One […]

Steak ‘n Shake Freezes Menu Prices

Steak ‘n Shake Freezes Menu Prices

Steak ‘n Shake will announce today that it will not raise menu prices in 2016. The move comes as other chains have been hiking menu prices to cover rising labor and other operational costs, as well as to compensate for soft customer traffic. For example, Shake Shack this month took another menu price increase, following […]

Are Menu Prices Rising Too Fast?

Are Menu Prices Rising Too Fast?

Is menu-price inflation contributing to stagnant customer traffic? Several top chains have reported small same-store sales increases largely because of higher menu pricing that increases average checks enough to offset slight declines in customer traffic. That’s working now but higher labor costs and greater technology investments may push restaurants to further raise prices in 2016. […]

The QSR Burger Price Ceiling Rises to $6

The QSR Burger Price Ceiling Rises to $6

Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s introduction this week of their $5.59 Steakhouse Thickburger makes official the demise of $5 as the burger price ceiling above which quick-service chains fear customers will not go. So $6 is the new $5, and even that line already has been crossed at least one chain. In 2001, Carl’s Jr. introduced the “Six […]

Pricing Lifts Red Robin Q3

Pricing Lifts Red Robin Q3

Higher menu prices helped Red Robin Gourmet Burgers report for Q3. The chain reported a 3.5% in same-store sales for the 12 weeks ended Oct. 4, 2015. That gain was comprised of a 3.6% increase in the average check (2.2% from price; 1.4% from menu mix shifts) offset by a 0.1% decline in customer traffic. […]

Sides Prove Profitable Check Builders

Sides Prove Profitable Check Builders

If the goal is to increase average checks, a popular means to that end for quick-service restaurants recently has been to bundle fries and a beverage with a burger to ensure that high-margin sides are purchased. An example is Wendy’s new “4 for $4 Meal”: Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, four chicken nuggets, small fries and a […]

Has Carl’s Jr. Shattered the $5 Burger Ceiling?

Has Carl’s Jr. Shattered the $5 Burger Ceiling?

Carl’s Jr. tomorrow (May 20) introduces its Most American Thickburger and most eyes will be on TV spokesmodel Samantha Hoopes or the burger’s unusual combination of a third-pound Angus beef patty topped with a split hot dog and potato chips. But what quick-service restaurant operators see is a test of consumer resistance to higher pricing. […]

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